As we enter the New Year, once again we make resolutions that are difficult to keep. Magazines this time of year are full of articles promising an easy way to lose weight or end procrastination, or ways to declutter and become better organized.
But one headline you may not see as often on a magazine cover is how to strengthen relationships.
It is so easy to let friendships falter because of time constraints. I'm sure that many people send Christmas cards each year with little notes saying we must get together for lunch in the coming year. And at the time people are writing the note, all intentions are good. Unfortunately another year zips by and the lunch never took place.
To build and strengthen relationships, you must set aside time to be with people you care about. When you make appointments with friends, you should guard them like a dentist appointment.
And technology has given us ways to be better connected, if we are open to them.
I once wanted nothing to do with texting. It seemed like such a cold and impersonal way to communicate. I thought that it was a lot easier just to pick up the phone and call someone.
When my adult children tried to get me into it, I refused. Plus, I had a little tiny key board on my phone that made it difficult.
Then one day last year I went out to lunch with a friend that I have had for many years. She was not one to embrace all the new technology. But during lunch, she stopped eating and said, “Oh I forgot to tell my son something.” I was dumbfounded when she began to text him.
When I asked about it, she said she had been texting for months. She said she loved it because she could reach her kids and didn't have to wait days to have them return a phone call.
I left the restaurant thinking if she could do it with such ease and comfort, surely I could. I bought a new phone and learned how to text. I was so impressed that I had entered the world of instant communication.
And then I noticed that I kept in better touch with my friends who texted. I absolutely loved getting a response from friends, family and even my young grandchildren within minutes. I love the little beep on the phone that tells me I have a new text. I decided that texting was the best thing in the world, and I could pinch myself for resisting it for so many years.
A study from the University of Nebraska released last week concluded that texting may actually strengthen relationships, especially among family members. The average text message is answered within 5 minutes. A person can find out information from friends or relatives quickly, keep in touch regularly, enhance relationships and make quick plans. It's a win-win situation for those of us who text, and one is never too old to learn.
Texting doesn't mean you never talk on the phone. But it actually frees you to stay in better touch with others. Sometimes we want to talk to somebody but don't call because we have time restraints and know that the conversation has to be rushed. Texting eliminates those problems and no one has hurt feelings.
If you text wisely (don't drive and text), it can be a wonderful way to build relationships. And that's a New Year's resolution that is easy to keep!